"Byron's poems, novels by Sir Walter Scott, Confessions of an Opium Eater, some shabby brown volumes, and on the last shelf, Life and Letters of ... The rest was eaten away."

Lord Byron's poems were incredibly popular in the 1810s and 1820s, so much so that he is often regarded as the first celebrity. Major works include Childe Harold and Don Juan. Byron was a scandalous and exotic figure. He had many affairs, including, allegedly, an incestuous affair with his sister. Exiled from England for this reason, he travelled extensively and died of a fever in Greece whilst campaigning for Greek independence from the Ottoman Empire.

Sir Walter Scott wrote historical adventure romances, including such famous works as Ivanhoe (1819), Waverley (1814), The Heart of Midlothian(1818) and The Bride of Lammermoor (1819). He was the first English language novelist to achieve major international fame.

Confessions of an English Opium Eater was written by Romantic writer Thomas De Quincey in 1821, and was an immediate success. It detailed De Quincey's laudanum and opium addiction.

These books were the bestsellers of their time – a period several decades earlier. Together with the detail that one has been eaten away by mould, this suggests that the house has been abandoned for a long time.

Byron's poems were not officially collected together until John Middleton Murray's posthumous Collected Works in 1832. In line with Rhys's desired effect of abandonment, it is more likely that Rochester is looking at a collection of various verse publications by Byron (although pirate collections probably existed) rather than the Collected Works.